Cut a red cedar for the holidays

News from the region
Kansas City
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Kansas City, Mo. – A holiday tradition that combines fresh and fragrant cedar with conservation returns 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, when Kansas City Wildlands holds the 17th annual cut-your-own Christmas tree event. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is a key partner with Kansas City WildLands in preserving and restoring natural prairies, woodlands and forests on public park lands in the metro area. Removing red cedars at this year’s event will help prepare acres for prairie restoration at Mildale Farm in the Johnson County Park and Recreation system, 35250 W. 199th St., Edgerton, Kan.

Kansas City WildLands, a program of Bridging the Gap, coordinates volunteers working on projects to protect or restore natural areas in parks. For example, volunteers have removed invasive bush honeysuckle in Kansas City’s Swope Park or helped restore prairie at Jerry Smith Park. MDC staff assists with the projects.

The cedar trees are free or people can make a voluntary donation. Any money donated goes for supplies and equipment for conservation projects in parks. Red cedars are a native tree that benefit wildlife and have woodworking value. But they also can invade prairies, impede prairie restorations, or hinder conservation of native plants on rocky glades, such as the Rocky Point glade site in Swope Park. The Christmas tree event helps remove unwanted cedars. They also make a fragrant and colorful holiday tree, said Linda Lehrbaum, WildLands program manager.

“We’ve got people with older kids who say it’s the only kind of tree they’ve ever known,” Lehrbaum said. “It’s become a family tradition.”

WildLands volunteers can help visitors cut and retrieve trees at the event. A hayride, bonfire, hot cider, and cookies are part of the festivities. For more information, call 816-561-1089 or email